The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion

Peter L. Berger


The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion

The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion

  • Title: The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion
  • Author: Peter L. Berger
  • ISBN: 9780385073059
  • Page: 223
  • Format: Paperback



Berger writes in a concise and lucid style, a rare talent among sociologists, but does so without losing any of the cogency of his material More impressively, he is almost unparalleled in his creativity The Sacred Canopy brings together all of these virtues and is easily his most important book Indeed, I think it s the most important contribution to the sociology of Berger writes in a concise and lucid style, a rare talent among sociologists, but does so without losing any of the cogency of his material More impressively, he is almost unparalleled in his creativity The Sacred Canopy brings together all of these virtues and is easily his most important book Indeed, I think it s the most important contribution to the sociology of religion since Max Weber s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Jeffery K Hadden, Commonweal This is a brilliant analysis that gives evidence of a sociology of religion that is able to clarify the often ironic interaction of religion and society A Theodore Kachel, Union Seminary Quarterly ReviewThis important contribution to the sociology of religion provides an analysis that clarifies the often ironic interaction between religion and society Berger is noted for his concise and lucid style.


Recent Comments "The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion"

This book is an extension of Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann’s earlier book, “The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge” written in 1966, in which the authors begin with basic sociological assumptions about mental representations and how human beings come to know the world and form impressions of it. “The Sacred Canopy,” while heavily informed by the ideas in “The Social Construction of Reality,” was written only by Berger himself. The book is a [...]

The Sacred Canopy is a classic in the sociology of religion, and is simply one of the finest studies I know of religious people acting in groups. I first read it in fall of 2001, and Berger was one of the few thinkers who helped me make sense of 9/11.Based on the work of Emile Durkheim, one of the founders of modern sociology, Berger examines how communities construct their own version of reality and then enforce it among its members. This socially constructed reality becomes the norm through wh [...]

Berger’s writing is lucid and smooth—very readable. His painstakingly supported discussion of religion is anchored in sociological and mythical concepts that can be recognized in the writings of Eliade or Campbell. There is much of interest here, from an analysis of the Pauline gesture of faith, the Christian switch to a friendlier, approachable God, and the masochism [which dates the writing to the 60s] underpinning the whole structure. In later chapters he explains the trend of secularizat [...]

The first half of this is essentially an application of basic principles of sociology to religion. It is wordy, rambling, uses the royal "we" in an annoying way and probably could just be skimmed. Part two then seeks to apply those principles to the Christian church. This section moves a bit more easily and held my interest inasmuch as it sought to explain why secularization has taken place (and attributes that to the ancient Israelites). However, much of the author's style continued to annoy me [...]

Perhaps I will have time to review this in future. For now, it is an exercise in viewing history from an atheist sociological perspective, as a human construct. The sociological insights of the dialectical process of how societies are shaped - first people shape culture and society (institutions, practices, technologies, processes, etc.) and then they shape us, often in ways we don't anticipate or intend - is superb.

A discussion of the course of religion in the Western World in the 20th century, as seen from a sociological perspective.

Many themes in the bible, not just the OT focus of values

The first two chapters of Berger’s book summarize his sociological theory. Humans are social creatures and they need meaning. Humans create meaning structures that are the norms, beliefs and worldviews of the group, and this process proceeds dialectically. We externalize these outward where they stand apart, and then we take these objectified meanings back and internalize them. The “essential sociality of man” and the need to order our experiences, Berger states, are the biological foundat [...]

One of the most brilliant books I have read ever. The first chapter on world building starts with the a priori proposition that unlike animals, humans are not born with a definitive relationship to their environment and has to constantly construct his surroundings. The chapter details the dialectical relationship of men to the society through processes of externalisation, objectivation and internalisation, reaffirming the definition of society as a product of human action that acts back upon it. [...]

I first encountered Berger's The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion as I was doing research for an essay on the narrative construction of selfhood. I remember excitement when I read the first two chapters on Religion and World-Construction and Religion and World-Maintenance.I picked up TSC again in preparation for a lecture on worship, imagination, and our social imaginaries. Again, I find Berger's dialectic approach to the human construction of a meaningful world very [...]

This book takes a look at religion from a sociological perspective. It's got some interesting insights. I like the idea of how we're shaped by our society while at the same time we shape it. It leads to interesting questions about in what way do the institutions of my society shape me and is it how I want to be shaped. The link between modernization and secularization is obviously too closely linked here because the empirical evidence does not match the predictions he made, so the next question [...]

This book was written in the sixties, and there is something about the scientific writing of the sixties that makes it feel like a journal entry of natal-circumlocution. However, Berger is quite thorough, and when one is covering a dialectical process, circumlocution seems to be inevitable. Yet, this is only an illusion. The words that Berger uses aren't necessarily layman and this is what creates that illusion. If someone is into this academia lexis than it will be a joy, as it was for me. I al [...]

Along with The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, I have desire to read this book by Peter Berger. When will there be time?

interesting. i appreciate the concepts he portrays in objectivity. it's interesting to learn how important and how frequently plausiblilty is challenged, and why religions today resemble small businesses, they've been selling out to each other in an attempt to modify their product for the masses. most poignant, though, is how he nails people's height of secularism or decline in religious piety to the economy, when the economy is rolling smoothly, the people are not inclined to be faithfully atte [...]

Berger was a big proponent of the secularization thesis, that is, religious adherence would dim as the pluralism of ideas spread. How can conservative religious belief survive in an environment of religious pluralism? He argues it cannot. Religious adherence requires a 'sacred canopy' that is a society in which the religious view is taken to be default reality- competing religions destroy this canopy. He later recanted the view put forth in this book because it does not fit empirical reality.

thank god, finally someone to support my claims for my ISP! i really recommend this book if you are interested in religion from a sociological perspective. two caveats: i do not think "methodological atheism" is the best route to take within the academy, rather a "methodologically agnostic" approach. second, he is a sociologist primarily and so some of his examples of religions less familiar to him/the west are a little squiffy.

As a religious studies major, I have read a fair amount of social theory on religion. Of all the works, this one best synthesizes the various ideas of the leaders in the field (Durkheim, Levi-Strauss, etc) and offers a comprehensive theory of religion that explains its unique epistemology and social function.

I do not agree with what Berger is saying at all. He does present a pretty good aesthetic argument into the construction of religion. So while regarding this the human constructions of God certainly fall into this category. But his basic presupposition that God does not exists leads me to reject his system.

"on the other hand." Berger loves that phrase and for that I give him a two. I think he makes some solid points and its something that everyone in a religious vocation should read least you forget where you came from Some of this is out dated, but considering it was written in the 1960s I think it has held up considerably well.

foundational book for the experienced believer but only to be read in tandem with Berger's "A Rumor of Angles" as well as a great teacher (like Richard Perkins at Houghton College). shows how much of religion is man-made but with faith this can be truth-enabling in believing God to be within this man-made culture of religion that attempts to express the Divine.

The ideas in this book are very applicable to everyday life (I mean, they are sociological principles), but the readability is hindered thanks to all the Latin (among other languages most likely) phrases throughout. It's an interesting read if your comprehension level is extremely high. Sadly for me, much of this book's value was lost due to this problem.

So informative, but SO dry. It was difficult to trudge through. I learned so much about how religion is constructed and how it is studied, but it was just so dense and I had to reread paragraphs a few times to understand the meaning. Definitely not for the casually interested.

The Sacred Canopy is a little dated now, but it is still a clear and concise introduction to many of the ideas behind social construction theory and discursive analysis. This book is a great starting point for further research, you should check it out.

A bit on the dry side but the idea of socially constructing meaning and religion has stuck with me since I read it!

I know some Southern Baptists who would have a thing or two to say about this book. . . .I'm sure it seemed much more "groundbreaking" when it came out in the 60s.

I had to read this for Intro to Christian Theology. It was an interesting read.

interesting

Foundational for a fuller understanding of society and religion, if a bit verbose.

awesome book except that he's completely wrong at the end. so wrong that he later admits it.

Although outdated it is insightful.


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    Posted by:Peter L. Berger
    Published :2018-05-01T10:26:31+00:00